Good sound-isolating headphones

Ubele

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 20, 2008
669
107
I have a pair of Sennheiser HD 590 headphones, which I really like. However, because they're open-air, I can't use them to listen to music in bed late at night when my wife is trying to sleep, because the music is quite audible to her at normal listening levels. For the same reason, I can't use them as studio monitors while I'm recording, because the sound bleeds through. So I'm looking for a pair of sound-isolating (not noise-canceling) headphones in the $100-150 range. For many years in the 1970s and 1980s, I owned a pair of Koss Pro-4AA headphones, and they sounded great. They were heavy and could get uncomfortable after extended wear, but I got used to them, for the most part. I'm considering getting another pair, but I wanted to see if anyone here has other suggestions. A few years ago, I read that iPods had trouble driving the Pro-4AAs at reasonable volume levels. I don't know know whether that was true, or, if so, whether it applies to today's iPhones and iPads. I listen to pop, rock, folk, jazz, classical, and a variety of other styles, and I like a flat response.
 

MiesVanDerRobot

macrumors member
Aug 28, 2012
56
2
I'm a big fan of the Audio Technica ATH-M50s. My only complaint is they do become uncomfortable after more than ~2.5 hours of uninterrupted listening, but they're comfortable up to that point and they sound marvelous. Good, clean, relatively unhyped audio...they are popular recording studio headphones with good reason. I use them with everything - iPhone, Macbook, Apogee Quartet - and they sound good without needing a headphone amp.
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,641
450
Redondo Beach, California
I have a pair of Sennheiser HD 590 headphones, which I really like. However, because they're open-air, I can't use them to listen to music in bed late at night when my wife is trying to sleep, because the music is quite audible to her at normal listening levels....
Yes, I have the ams problem with open headphones. I think for your use ace I'd recommend in-era monitors. You can get very good ones if you like. They are all not as bad as the ones Apple gives away free with iPods. They block sound very well and the bulk goes away too.
 

Ubele

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 20, 2008
669
107
Yes, I have the ams problem with open headphones. I think for your use ace I'd recommend in-era monitors. You can get very good ones if you like. They are all not as bad as the ones Apple gives away free with iPods. They block sound very well and the bulk goes away too.
Thanks, Chris. I remember reading about Ultimate Ears a few years ago, which got great reviews and were used by pros, but which cost about $600. I thought to myself, "Someday..." I just checked the UE site, and they now have several models, all of which are quite pricey. The distinguishing factor is that you have an audiologist take molds of your ear canals, which UE uses to create in-ear monitors that fit you perfectly. At the time, I also looked into other brands of less expensive, non-custom monitors, but reports about their sound quality and comfort were spotty. Is there a brand you recommend? Since this would be a non-essential purchase, I don't want to spend much more than $100, which is why I was considering another pair of Koss Pro 4AAs. Otherwise, I can live with the stock Apple earbuds when my wife is trying to sleep. :)
 

andymodem

macrumors 6502a
Nov 20, 2008
558
65
Baltimore, MD
I'm a big fan of the Audio Technica ATH-M50s. My only complaint is they do become uncomfortable after more than ~2.5 hours of uninterrupted listening, but they're comfortable up to that point and they sound marvelous. Good, clean, relatively unhyped audio...they are popular recording studio headphones with good reason. I use them with everything - iPhone, Macbook, Apogee Quartet - and they sound good without needing a headphone amp.
I have Audio Technica ATH-M50s as well and use them only in bed with my wife and she can't hear the music. The iPhone and the iPad have no problem driving these headphones either.
 

Ubele

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 20, 2008
669
107
I have Audio Technica ATH-M50s as well and use them only in bed with my wife and she can't hear the music. The iPhone and the iPad have no problem driving these headphones either.
Thanks, both. I'll check these out!
 
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